Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Our First Day of Homeschool

Our first day of homeschool was all planned out by yours truly, after months of forming ideas and weeks spent putting them to paper. 

Before I'd really turned my homeschool brain on, I had set up a play date at our house with a friend from sister's old preschool class who she adores and hadn't seen in a couple of months.  I thought about cancelling so we could follow the day's plan to a tee, but decided that this experience would be just as meaningful as anything I had conceived.

Sister and friend had a grand time going to "the beach", parading around the house while playing a variety of instruments, and sharing a snack with their baby brothers.  I can't necessarily quantify what we were learning here, but the quality was clear. 

When I sat down to lunch with the kids, sister and I talked about whether or not she still wanted to attend an afternoon preschool program two days a week as she'd done the past couple of months.  It's the classroom supported by our local education service district (and my former employer) which serves preschool age children with special needs where sister had acted as a 'model peer'.  When her dad and I discussed it, we decided we would wait and make a game time decision, ultimately leaving it up to sister.  She wavered back and forth a bit as we ate our tuna mac n cheese, but ultimately declared that she wanted to go.  If she's willing, I am, too, because I believe early childhood education gets a lot of things right.  More on that another time.

After scurrying to get ready and driving the few minutes there and back, brother went down for a nap and I set to work reviewing this week's plan and penciling in some of the adaptations we'd already made or would need to make based on our recent change in plans.  I took the time to outline next week's schedule and am hope to continue fitting this in a week or so in advance so I have plenty of time to gather any items around the house or at the store.

From there, we were off to a rehearsal we had just been made aware of the day before.  Our local theatre company held auditions over the weekend for their annual winter children's show which sister had hoped to try out for until we found out they were seeking kids over age 8 and she is not quite 5.  However, the musical director and I did a show together earlier this year so she knew of sister's passion to get her turn on stage and when not enough "big kids" tried out, she extended an invitation for sister to play the part of "Mouse #3".  As luck (or fate) would have it, the show is "The Adventures of Beatrix Potter" which includes sister's scene in "The Tailor of Gloucester".  Our homeschool curriculum relies heavily on Potter's stories, and we have already gotten to hear one of the stories we've read come to life through the actor's voices.  During the read through, Sister shined when repeating her lines with an extra splash of enthusiasm. 

By the time we got home and got some dinner in us, we could have easily called it a day.  But I still wanted to try out circle time and introduce the kids to the routine of it.  Since Daddy was home, he got to participate, too and signed on as the event's photographer.

As you can glimpse in the photo, I wrote out the opening and closing verses along with this week's tongue twister and songs/verses, figuring it's a good opportunity for connecting spoken word to writing.

When we finished, sister burst into tears and exclaimed "I don't want circle to end!".  I take this as a good sign that this will be a preferred activity in the days and weeks to come.

Considering we did near nothing the way I'd planned it but still managed to have a more fulfilling day than I could have imagined, I think maybe- just maybe- we're getting this whole homeschool thing right.

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